Royal Caribbean To Deliver 20,000 Meals Daily To Grand Bahama

Cruise Week

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Royal Caribbean will deliver 20,000 meals a day to Grand Bahamas residents struggling to recover from Hurricane Dorian. Each day, Royal will take one of its ships headed for the Bahamas or the Caribbean and divert it for several hours to deliver on the commitment.

"We'll start with Empress of the Seas on Thursday (today) with the goal of delivering 10,000 meals to shore," Royal Caribbean Senior VP Rob Zeiger told CruiseWeek. "I don't know exactly what we are going to find on the ground. but there's going to be a lot of close cooperation with the Bahamas Feeding Network and some others who are going to help us out."

The base of operation will be the Grand Bahama Shipyard.

"We will bring hot food for people that work there," said Zeiger of the shipyard. "The next day we hope to double the distribution. We're bringing good protein food, chicken, bean and rice, sandwiches, such as peanut butter & jelly, a lot of cold foods, non-perishables, even some Snicker's Bars and cookies."

Throughout Wednesday, company leaders Richard Fain, Michael Bayley and Lisa Lutoff-Perlo brainstormed with food and beverage officials and the supply chain on figuring out how to handle and transport the food. "Feeding tens of thousands of people a day is exactly one of the things we do well on our ships," said Zeiger.

The cruises calling in the waters outside of Freeport will have paid passengers onboard. "We're not sending any empty ships. so we sent a letter to guests tonight on Empress of the Seas to explain what was happening," said Zeiger.

In term of actual itinerary, this won't change much for the sailings themselves other than arrival and departure time for Nassau. "It means a couple of swaps -- a sea day for Freeport," said Zeiger. "What we end up with is a conveyor belt of ships pulling up, cooking up a storm, getting the food offloaded and offloading other supplies as well. Then the next ship comes in."

He continued: "It has been our experience in 2017 with Puerto Rico that our guests were very warm and positive and knowing that they play the role of helping was a good feeling."

On Wednesday night, Royal Caribbean provided guests on Empress of the Seas with note cards. "If guests want to write notes, we will add the notes to the delivery," said Zeiger.

Among Freeport-bound ships in the next few days are Symphony of the Seas, Celebrity Equinox and Harmony of the Seas.